Weddings are wonderful, elaborate celebrations where everyone we love comes together to celebrate love itself.
They can also be extremely stressful – and not just for the bride and groom themselves.
Sometimes, having someone behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly, especially when it comes to making sure things run smoothly for the bride, almost feels like a necessity.
That's where Jen Glantz comes in.
A self-proclaimed "bridesmaid for hire", Jen has worked over 60 weddings where she serves as a hired bridesmaid, wedding coach, confidante for the bride – You name it, she's probably done (and seen) it all!
We chatted with Jen to discuss all the ins and outs of what her job entails as well as some of her favorite memories from weddings that she's worked.
AOL: What sparked the idea for being a full-time bridesmaid for a career?
Jen Glantz: "I never thought I would have a job in the wedding industry...What happened was, all of my friends got married and engaged in my early '20s and I became 'always the bridesmaid,' and when I was behind the scenes at weddings, I noticed that there was nobody there whose job it was to be there for the bride...Weddings can be so dramatic, so stressful and there was nobody there to help navigate somebody through that.
After I was asked to be a bridesmaid twice in one day, my roommate nicknamed me 'the professional bridesmaid,' and that's when I realized...why not try to do this for strangers?
I've been doing this job for over two and a half years and I've worked with over 65 clients all over the world."
Check out these pictures of Jen working weddings and speaking engagements all over the world:
AOL: What do you do for marketing and promotions?
JG: "When I started this business from scratch [in New York City], I didn't have much money to start it...a lot of what I did for marketing and advertising was free. I utilized social media, I tried to establish myself as an expert in the wedding industry and help bridesmaids with tips by writing different articles for bridesmaids.
I also just tried to spread to word by going to different wedding vendors and just introducing myself –The wedding industry is a huge referral industry and I get a lot of my clients just by word of mouth."
AOL: What types of packages do you offer? What are the standard price points?
JG: "I have packages for brides, maid of honors, bridesmaids and mother of the brides.
I have every kind of package from being your wedding coach where I'm there just virtually (we have our one-on-one phone calls), I have day-of coordination packages where I'm behind the scenes at your wedding, I have maid of honor packages where I do all of your maid of honor work secretly (and the bride never finds out) and I have the bridesmaid for hire package where I put on the dress and walk down the aisle.
My packages start at $300 and go upwards of $2,000."
AOL: How do other people in the wedding party usually receive you? Do most people know that you've been hired?
JG: "Sometimes when a bride hires me to be their bridesmaid for hire, she doesn't tell anybody else that I was hired, not the person she's marrying, not the rest of her bridesmaids, not even her family!
We have a backstory of how we know each other, so it is a complete secret, but my job is to go in there and help the entire bridal party – I help the bridesmaids with everything they need. I take on the dirty work so that they can have a good time as the bride's real friends.
Here's our live interview with Jen from the AOL Finance Facebook page:
AOL: Do you get to know your clients and brides before you hire them?
JG: "Before I take on any client, I want to make sure that it's a good match. This is a relationship business; this is not a rent-a-friend business. I don't just show up and walk down the aisle, I get to know brides anywhere between a year and 3 months before the wedding.
Simply put, I say I'm their on-call therapist, their personal assistant, their social director and their peacekeeper, because I've never been to a wedding where there hasn't been some type of drama!"
AOL: What's one of the craziest stories you've had from working a wedding
JG: Three months ago, I worked a wedding for a bride in New York City, and about five minutes before her wedding she pulls me in a room, locks the door and says 'Jen, I don't like the groom, I don't want to do this!'
She came to me because she wanted an honest opinion about what to do, and she also came to me because she knew I wasn't going to judge whatever she did – I had seen it all and done it all and I was there to help her make the decision."
AOL: Have you ever been recognized while at a wedding or with a client?
JG: "I've never been caught before!
Interestingly enough, I've had over 13,000 people apply to work for me. I've been able to hire on a couple of additional women to serve as bridesmaids for me and go to weddings for me...and I have training programs that teach other women how to start their own wedding businesses and their own bridesmaid for hire businesses."
AOL: Tell us a bit about your new book, "Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire)"
JG: "I wanted to put together a book about how I got into this business – What happened in my personal life to give me the courage and the desire to be a bridesmaid for strangers. I also wrote about what I've learned from every single person that's hired me as a bridesmaid for hire over the past two years, and finally, about some of the mistakes I've made starting a business...This book is way more than wedding horror stories!"
AOL: Do you keep in contact with brides that have hired you?
JG: "Often times a lot of the brides who hired me have turned into friends. The first bride who hired me, we still keep in contact. Even though she lives in a different state, we see each other at least once a year and talk at least once a month. And I have stayed friends with a lot of local brides as well, they do become a piece of my life and my heart!"
AOL: Where's the coolest place that you've traveled to and worked a wedding?
JG: "I once worked a wedding in Las Vegas...it was for a couple in Chicago who wanted to surprise their friends by telling them they were coming on their bachelorette party...and on the final day in Vegas they shocked everybody by having the wedding."
AOL: What would be your key piece of advice to any aspiring entrepreneur who's looking to start their own business or change their career?
JG: "Start right now, you'll never be ready enough, you'll never be smart enough, you'll never have enough money to start...figure out a baby step that you can take today to get started."
AOL: Has your career affected way you look at marriage and relationships?
JG: "I think weddings can be ridiculous...it's really shown me that when you want to celebrate this love you've entered with the person that you hope to be with forever, it doesn't have to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. There are ways to do it very inexpensively and also sill have the wedding of your dreams."
Jen's book, "Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)" is in stores now and available on Amazon.
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